More women are choosing to stay in the workforce during and following pregnancy, and that means more employers have to figure out alternative duties for women who can't lift or stay on their feet for long periods during pregnancy. Many women aren't familiar with what they can or can't request as an accommodation while pregnant.
The U.S. Equal Opportunity Commission considers pregnancy in the same light as those workers with temporary disabilities due to another condition, such as a medical issue or an injury. Pregnant employees are entitled to reasonable accommodations that don't cause an undue hardship on their employer, such as:
- More frequent breaks than employees who are not pregnant
- Allowing for water bottles in their work area
- Redistributing certain job duties that are contraindicated for pregnancy
- Modifications to equipment, scheduling, devices or policies
- A temporary move to a light duty position
- Granting leave as needed for recovery or as recommended by a doctor
The Supreme Court recently ruled in a 6 to 3 decision in Young v. UPS that Peggy Young, a UPS worker who was refused light-duty accommodation due to her pregnancy and instead fired, has the right to return to court and argue that the reason she was refused a light-duty position is because she was pregnant. Lower courts ruled that Young's predicament was unlike a temporarily disabled worker, and thus she was not eligible for protection under rules protecting injured or disabled workers.
If you have been the target of workplace harassment, discrimination or unfair termination, Bouchillon, Crossan & Colburn, L.C. represents clients in federal court and before the EEOC, MSPB and in state and union grievance hearings.
Our attorneys have more than 35 years dedicated to giving clients the attention, advice, support and empowerment they need to effectively meet their goals. We are committed to the principle that all persons shall have equal justice under the law. Call Bouchillon, Crossan & Colburn, L.C. at 304.523.8451 or contact us online to schedule an appointment.